Monthly Archives: August 2014

Bullying is a Fear Based Behavior

KODAK Digital Still Camera

It’s time for all of our students to go back to school. Some schools opened last week. Here on Rosebud our schools are open this week, so watch out for students getting on and off the bus.

Many of our students start out a new school year with a ton of enthusiasm. For some of them, that enthusiasm will last all year. But for others the enthusiasm soon turns into dread because of bullying. There are some students who will not finish the year because of other students who bully.

Teachers, administrators and support staff need to be aware of what is going on in their schools. When a student is terrorized by another student they often do not tell anyone because they choose not to create any more trauma for themselves. Many parents will seek out a teacher or administrator to inform them of incidents of bullying. Oftentimes, the excuse offered by the teacher or administrator is “he/she never said anything to me about being bothered by a bully.”

I am not a teacher, nor am I an administrator. Still, I believe that if you choose to go into a career which involves helping elementary, middle and high school students become educated you have to accept that part of your job is keeping our young people safe while they are on school grounds. If this means hiring more staff to make sure everyone is safe while they are at school well please hire more staff.

For two years in a row I have had family members suffer bullying while they were trying to learn at school. Our experience was the teachers and administrators claimed ignorance about what was going on because no one said anything.

Many people employed by the schools have been there for a while. Most should know how their students really behave by now. Staff must know which students are mean. They should also know which students will choose not to stand up for themselves – these are the young people being are targeted by the big bad bully.

Consequently, bullying isn’t a behavior limited to students. There are teachers, administrators, support staff and even school board members who are bullying students. They will even bully parents!

A bully falsely believes he/she has gained the respect of the people they are picking on. But, they are mistaken in feeling it is respect making people do what they want them to do. Actually, it is really the opposite. People fear a bully so they do what the bully wants. Fear has absolutely nothing to do with respect.

No bully deserves respect. Respect is on the level of love. Fear is a dark emotion, quite the opposite of love. A bully who believes they are respected is a fool.

We always get back everything we hand out. When you are deliberately bullying someone – a classmate, your student, an employee or a coworker – a bigger bully will surely appear in your life to give you an equal dose of fear.

Rosalie Little Thunder: A Lakota Library of Wisdom

The Late Rosalie Little Thunder makes a point during a recent discussion about Lakota Language and Culture.

The Late Rosalie Little Thunder makes a point during a recent discussion about Lakota Language and Culture.

Lakota women have always been the backbone of the Oyate. Without the strength and resilience of our women, the Lakota people would never have made it this far. The future of the Lakota Oyate still depends upon the strong women of our tribe.

Rosalie Little Thunder, one of our most resilient women, has left this Earth plane to start a new sacred journey along the Milky Way. She’s gone to meet our ancestors!

There is a saying about how when an elder passes on it is akin to a library burning down. Rosalie was one of our libraries.

She carried knowledge which she shared freely with many. She was known for her cultural advocacy. She did a tremendous amount of critical work with the Lakota language. She provided life lessons to people of all ages.

I was very privileged to have worked with Rosalie on several projects. Her determination to help the Lakota people evolve out of the colonized mindset many have succumbed to was inspirational. A Lakota woman of Rosalie’s caliber is hard to find in today’s modern, assimilated society.

While spending time with Rosalie, I witnessed firsthand her compassion for her family and Lakota people in general. Her cell phone would ring non-stop and she would sometimes talk for hours on it, offering advice and encouragement to whomever was on the other end. She would think nothing of dropping whatever she was doing to help someone in need.

Rosalie was admired and known in many circles for her teaching methods which included a process she called Cultural Mapping. She would draw a spiral on a sheet of paper or a white board and expand upon it. The basic terms she used were Wotakuye, Wicozani, Wokicunze, Wicoh’an, Wiconi, Wicoyake and Wokiksuye. Cultural Mapping was a way to remember our Lakota way of being and how to use it to help our relatives.

I always learned something new when I interacted with Rosalie. Actually, I believe we learned from each other. The input she had in the small groups we worked with taught me so much. Sometimes responses offered by the people in meetings would trigger profound comments from her. She always encouraged people to help each other re-learn and remember the cultural wisdom that colonization tried to rob from us.

Rosalie was a Sicangu Lakota woman who wanted to help people work through their differences with one another. Also, despite her health problems, she demonstrated the love of a true Lakota Unci by providing for Calea, her very young Takoja.

Rosalie was an activist. She was involved in issues which affected the people. Several years ago she stood up and spoke out for the buffalo being slaughtered at Yellowstone National Park. She organized a National Day of Prayer on their behalf. Her most recent involvement was with the grassroots movement against the building of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Rosalie was the epitome of how to be a good Lakota ancestor. She will be greatly missed by the Lakota Oyate.

Youth Carry Prayers to Sundance Tree in Spiritual Relay

CROW DOG’S PARADISE – Six young men ran a seventy mile spiritual relay to carry the prayers of all Indigenous people who stand against the building of the massive Keystone XL pipeline.

The group of runners included Karver Gregg, Chad Blood, Morgun Freio, Jeremy Ashike, Terrell Iron Shell and Eli Horinek. They were escorted by two vehicles along the route. One young man immediately entered the Sundance circle as a dancer after running all night.

The runners began their run at Oyate Wahacanka Woecun, which is the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Spiritual Camp near Ideal Community, at approximately 1am on Thursday, July 31. Each young man committed to run approximately 12 miles in the spiritual relay. The last two miles of the relay were completed as a group walk. The six young men walked into the Sundance grounds at approximately 10am to bring the prayers of many who are concerned about the effects of the pipeline on the land and water to the Sundance Tree at Crow Dog’s Paradise.

In April, President Obama postponed any decision regarding the approval of a Presidential Permit sought by TransCanada to allow their pipeline to cross the US/Canadian border. The delay gave grass roots activists more time to organize against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe established the Oyate Wahacanka Woecun on March 29 near the proposed route of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The spiritual camp has been visited by many people who support the resistance against the building of more tar sands pipelines.